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Release Date: 8/14/1995
Contact Information: Bill Glenn, U.S. EPA, (415) 744-1589

 (San Francisco)--The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) and the California Regional Water Quality Control Board today jointly issued for public review a draft wastewater permit for San Diego.  The permit includes a waiver from more stringent "secondary" sewage treatment standards while setting forth specific parameters for wastewater discharge and monitoring that ensure protection of offshore waters.

     "Sound science and public review are fundamental to sensible protection of human health and the environment," said Felicia Marcus, regional administrator of U.S. EPA.  "U.S. EPA believes San Diego's current plan for wastewater treatment makes both environmental and economic sense for the region, and we are pleased to share our detailed findings with the public."

     "We finally seem to have established a regulatory framework that protects water quality and still works for the City of San Diego and both federal and state law," said Regional Board Chair Judy Johnson.  "By the Regional Board's participation in this process, the public can be assured that both federal and state permitting requirements will be consistent and protective of the environment.  I call that a significant success for the community."

     Under the terms of the draft permit, San Diego will be able to continue its current level of sewage treatment, with effluent discharged via a recently extended outfall pipe terminating 4.5 miles off the Pacific coast at a depth of 320 feet.  U.S. EPA's analysis of the scientific data gathered by the City of San Diego confirmed that such discharge would not have a detrimental effect on the ocean environment.

     "San Diego's application for the permit and waiver demonstrates a great improvement over the conditions we saw prior to the outfall extension," said Marcus.

     Interested members of the public are encouraged to submit written comments on the draft U.S. EPA and state permits as well as the decision to waive secondary treatment requirements.  Comments can also be made in person at a public hearing scheduled for 5:30 p.m. September 28 in the Third Floor Conference Room at 600 B Street in San Diego.

     Copies of the draft permit, along with supporting data and related documents, are available for review between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday at the following locations:

   California Regional                   Water U.S. EPA, Region 9
   Quality Control Board                 Water Management Division,
   San Diego Region                      Permits Section (W-5-1)
   9771 Clairemont Mesa Blvd., Suite B   75 Hawthorne St.  
   San Diego, CA  92124                  San Francisco, CA  94105
   (619) 467-2981                        (415) 744-1921

     Written comments should be submitted to the attention of Robyn Stuber at U.S. EPA and Darcy Jones at the Regional Board at the above addresses.  They must be postmarked by September 28, 1995.

     The draft permit includes effluent limitations for oil and grease, settleable solids, suspended solids, biochemical oxygen demand, turbidity, pH, acute toxicity and other pollutants.  It also contains a monitoring program designed to evaluate the impact of the wastewater discharge on the marine environment, demonstrate compliance with applicable water quality standards, and measure toxic substances in the discharge.  The permit, including the waiver from secondary sewage treatment requirements, is renewable every five years.

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